Are you worried about your Weight? Make Leptin your Friend.

Leptin, the ‘satiety hormone’, is a hormone made by adipose cells that helps to regulate energy balance by inhibiting hunger. Leptin is opposed by the actions of the hormone ghrelin, ‘hunger hormone’. Both hormones act as receptors in arcuate nucleus of hypothalamus to regulate appetite to achieve energy homeostasis.

In obesity, decreased sensitivity to leptin occurs resulting in inability to detect satiety (satiety – the feeling or state of being full ) despite high energy stores. This is one of the most defined functions of leptin amongst many other roles it performs.


How to keep Leptin level high in your body

  • Limit fructose consumption- many processed food contain fructose. Avoid pre-packaged food ( not always possible but worth bearing in mind )
  • Say “NO” to simple carbs- Browner grains have more nutrients. Whiter foods (refined, sugary ones) are stripped of nutrients while processing. Remember, Mr Rajinikanth advised to avoid eating food white in colour! Brown better than white, no pun intended
  • Avoid severe calorie restriction –losing weight is good for leptin production but not starving!
  • If on low carb diet like Atkins diet, have a refeeding day (aim for 100 percent to 150 percent more than normal on that one day). This helps play catch up!
  • Don’t yo-yo diet – avoid bouts of starvation and bouts of junk food. This makes matters worse
  • Choose right food as breakfast- Have a good one with protein and not too much sugar. Latest research points out those children eat a lot of sugar as breakfast, almost half of what is permitted for the entire day. This is no good for any organ in the body. No doughnuts for breakfast! Cereals have lectin and bind to leptin and stop it from performing its role and they are not ideal for breakfast. They have too much sugar too.
  • Go for fish – sounds fishy (unless you are a Banerjee!!)
  • Eat lots of leafy greens, fruits and other veggies
  • Fibre is great for leptin levels. Peas, beans, lentils, almond, raspberries, broccoli and oats are good.
  • Skip sweeteners and snacks
  • Go for food high in Zinc- spinach, nuts, cocoa, mushrooms, beans and pumpkins
  • Life style modifications- destress, good sleep and moderate exercise (not too much or too little)
  • Medications are available in market that helps deal with leptin but this is beyond scope of my recommendations.

Dr Srinivasan Vaidyanadeswaran
Consultant Psychiatrist